Bengals sign Adam Jones, Wilson


Adam Jones

Updated: 5:05 p.m.

Six days after they worked out cornerback Adam Jones for a second time this offseason, the Bengals officially announced Monday they had signed him.

They also announced a deal later in the day with veteran safety Gibril Wilson. Wilson, a seven-year veteran, adds another seasoned starter to a mix that already includes three safeties with at least 25 NFL starts in Roy Williams (99), Chris Crocker (73) and Chinedum Ndukwe (25). Wilson has 80, the last 15 coming last year in Miami.

The Bengals are banking on the 5-10, 186-pound Jones reviving his brief but spectacular career that was derailed by a slew of off-field problems that cost him 22 games in suspensions. He hasn't played since 2008 when he had a backup role in Dallas but that's where the Bengals are looking to use him with two highly-regarded starters (Johnathan Joseph and Leon Hall), incumbent nickel back Morgan Trent, and third-rounder Brandon Ghee already in the mix at corner.

Jones, 26, had been a force in 2006 with the Titans, the team that took him with the sixth pick in the draft the year before. He led the NFL in punt returns when he scored on runs of 53, 90 and 81 yards and had a 12.9-yard average.

He was suspended by the NFL for the 2007 season, traded to Dallas in 2008, and was waived by the Cowboys in February 2009. Jones has played in 39 career games with 32 starts, 151 tackles, four interceptions, and 33 total passes defensed. He has a 9.6-yard average on 84 punt returns with four touchdowns, and a 25.8-yard average on 70 kickoff returns.

The Bengals don't announce contract lengths, but Jones' representatives called it two years last week. Wilson's agent, Alvin Keels, tweeted a one-year deal last week.

Wilson arrived in the NFL in 2004 as a fifth-round draft choice of the New York Giants and played four seasons with them before one-year stints with the Raiders and Dolphins. His career totals: 602 tackles, 8.5 sacks, 13 INTs, 31 passes defensed, seven forced fumbles and six fumble recoveries.

"We're excited to have Gibril join our secondary group," said Bengals defensive backs coach Kevin Coyle in a news release. "He's a veteran who has played at a high level in the NFL and he brings us a lot of tools. He can play both safety positions, and he will compete for time and make our group better."  

After Jones's workout last week, Bengals defensive coordiantor Mike Zimmer and defensive tackle Tank Johnson, a former teammate in Dallas, told Bengals.com the Bengals have something if Jones returns to form. It was Zimmer who raised Jones' name back in February and was disappointed with the shape he was in and how he did the drills back then. Zimmer said he was so upset at how Jones didn't excute what he was told, he threatened to walk off the field.

"But he was very disciplined today; that was impressive," Zimmer said after the workout. "He did everything the way we asked him to do it and he looked good doing it. It was kind of a promise. We told him back in February if he did what he was supposed to do and got in shape, we'd look at him again in April. We're a few days late but he looked good. You can tell he's been working. He weighed 12 to 15 more pounds than the last time and he looked fast."

Johnson thinks Zimmer will be good for a friend he talks to a couple of times a week. 

"I know he's settled down," Johnson said. "I think you have to settle down. I think he would have been dead by now if he didn't settle down. That's the honest to God truth.

"I don't make any guarantees for any man; that's not how it works. I think he's made definite strides. I think coming into this Bengals family with Coach (Marvin) Lewis and Coach Zim and the Brown family, that is going to be great for him. I think Dallas was too much glitz, too much of a wild situation to go into, but this is definitely a more tame situation."

Zimmer has already given Jones the dos and don'ts. 

"We've got a bunch of strong character guys on defense," Zimmer said. "I'm not going to let this kid screw up our chemistry. I don't think he will. He looked me in the eye and shook my hand and said, 'Coach, I just want to play.' He seems very humble. He seems to understand."

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